It was the bit about seeking people with everyday resumes that grabbed Mary Pebley’s attention.
“Anytime ordinary citizens are empowered, I am pretty much for that,” Mary says.
Ordinary people are exactly what our community needs in deciding how we can help each other.
This week extraordinary work begins for approximately 200 community volunteers involved in the resource investment work of United Way of Greater Kansas City. Over the next several weeks, these volunteers will devote countless hours reviewing 319 program requests for United Way funding from human services’ agencies across our region.
Ultimately, their recommendations for which programs receive funding in 2014-2016 will be presented this spring for final approval by United Way of Greater Kansas City’s Board of Trustees.
It’s a big task, but one Mary Pebley was excited about from the beginning when she first read a call out for volunteers in a newspaper article.
“It said United Way was looking for ordinary citizens who had the ability to read financial statements to help in the allocation process,” she says. “I could read a financial statement and I was self-employed so I could set aside time without asking permission.”
Mary’s knowledge of and relationship with United Way up to that time was pretty much her filling out a workplace campaign pledge card. She admits that all she really knew about United Way was it was easy to give through her job.
When Mary she left the workplace to start her own therapeutic humor business 10 years ago she kept investing in United Way as an individual giver.
“Once I became involved in working with allocations I saw much more clearly the difference that money donated to United Way can make in our community,” Mary says.
Tim Fortin, a vice president at Lockton Companies, was uncertain at first about what to expect from the resource investment process.
“But after attending the volunteer orientation and reviewing the materials submitted by various programs that support community initiatives, I was looking forward to the group discussions to determine the extent of support we could provide for 10 of the 140 or so great local programs,” he says. “I really enjoyed the interaction with the various program sponsors to hear first-hand how they are improving the lives of their clients throughout our region.”
Tim says being involved in the allocation process has given him a lot of benefits personally. For one, he has a greater understanding of how United Way interacts with local service providers, such as giving them guidance on what they can do to better support their clients.
Also, Tim says he now has a deeper awareness of the local programs built to support United Way’s focus on education, income and health.
“I have a confirmation that the volunteers and financial contributors to the United Way are having a strong impact on the overall health of our community,” Tim says. “And I have met and built some great new relationships with like-minded community volunteers from diverse backgrounds, proving that when the community comes together in support of positive outcomes, we can really accomplish more than any one person can do alone.
“I can’t think of a better way to get involved in the community in a way that impacts so many diverse programs and all of the clients that they serve. As a community impact volunteer, I feel like my time and effort to serve is multiplied ten-fold thanks to the exposure to various programs.”